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Conservation status: Red

The turtle dove is a dainty dove, smaller and darker than the collared dove and slightly larger than a blackbird. Its upperparts are distinctively mottled with chestnut and black and its black tail has a white edge.

The gentle purr of the turtle dove is an evocative sound of summer, but has become increasingly rare following rapid and sustained population declines. One cause of the decline is thought to be lack of seed and grain as food during the breeding season, resulting in a much shorter breeder season with fewer nesting attempts. The species is now included on the Red List of conservation concern.



Latin name

Streptopelia turtur


Pigeons and doves (Columbidae)

Where to see them

It is mainly a bird of southern and eastern England, although it does reach as far as Wales. Best looked for in woodland edges, hedgerows and open land with scattered bushes.

When to see them

Arrives in late April and May, leaving again between July and September.

What they eat



EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-14,000 territories--




Niels Krabbe, Xeno-canto

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